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State government

California has too much pot, and growers won't be able to export the surplus

A leader of California’s marijuana industry warned Wednesday that the state’s cannabis growers produce eight times the pot that is consumed in the state so some will face “painful” pressure to reduce crops under new state regulations that will ban exports after Jan. 1.

ALSO: Candidate Gavin Newsom dominates donations from growing pot industry aiming for influence

Some marijuana growers will stay in the black market and continue to illegally send cannabis to other states, which is also not allowed under federal law, said Hezekiah Allen, executive director of the California Growers’ Assn.

“We are producing too much,” Allen said, adding state-licensed growers “are going to have to scale back. We are on a painful downsizing curve.”

He said some marijuana growers may stop, while others just won't apply for state permits.

Allen made his comments to the Sacramento Press Club during a panel discussion that also included Joseph Devlin, chief of Cannabis Policy and Enforcement for City of Sacramento, and  Lori Ajax, chief of the state’s Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation.

Devlin said estimates he has heard put California production at five times the state consumption; one consultant in the audience said the number may be 12 times what is consumed in the state.

Ajax agreed with Allen that some cannabis cultivators may have to scale back while others may never apply for a state license.

“For right now, our goal is to get folks into the regulated market, as many as possible,” Ajax said. But, she added, “There are some people who will never come into the regulated market.”

Those people, she said, will eventually face enforcement actions for growing marijuana without a state license.

Medical marijuana use was approved by California voters two decades ago. Voters in November approved the legal sale and possession of an ounce of marijuana for recreational use.

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